Alert close - icon Fill 1 Copy 10 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Untitled-1 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Fill 1 Copy 10 menu Group 3 Group 3 Copy 3 Group 3 Copy Page 1 Group 2 Group 2 Skip to content

Derbyshire business branches out for Million Trees project

Published: 8 March 2024

Staff at a food product development company in Somercotes swapped sauces and spices for spades this week to support a project to plant a million trees across Derbyshire by 2030.

A large group of people standing together, pushing spades into the ground
Rooting for Derbyshire: Pictured standing from left, Steve Buxton and Jackie Walton (Griffith Foods), Jane Mifflin (Groundwork), Jason Gill (Griffith Foods), Rod Whiteman, Cllr Barry Lewis and Ruth Marshall (Derbyshire County Council), Rebecca Godecharle and Sarah Spencer (Griffith Foods), Thomas Beardmore and Melissa Underwood (Groundwork). Kneeling from left are Jessica Nunn, Bill Varney and Kev Hardy (Griffith Foods).

Eight staff from Griffith Foods, on Cotes Park Industrial Estate, pulled on their boots and turned out to plant trees at Brook Park – a 37-hectare site with specially recreated limestone grassland on the site of the former Shirebrook Colliery.

The business, which is part of a global food manufacturing company and specialises in producing sauces, dressing, dry blends and valued added coatings for the food industry, contacted us to offer to lend a hand to the Million Trees project designed to help protect the environment for future generations and tackle the effects of climate change.

As well as donating £2,500 towards the cost of the trees, the team helped to plant 600 saplings at Brook Park with the support of 3 members of local charity Groundwork which helps to manage the site on behalf of landowners The Land Trust.

Trees planted at the event which we facilitated included hazel, hawthorn, dog rose, yew and oak.

Thanks to their efforts, the total number of trees planted and recorded as part of the project since June 2021 now stands at more than 408,000.

Bill Varney, Principal Research and Development Technologist at Griffith Foods, said:

“At Griffith Foods we like to give back to the local community where we can. This year we decided that one of the areas we would like to help contribute towards was the local countryside and giving employees more opportunities to volunteer.

“The Million Trees project is an amazing initiative that Griffith Foods was happy to donate towards, meaning that we were able to donate a considerable number of trees, and help plant them. A team of 8 people from the company had an amazing few hours getting their hands dirty and plant 600 saplings in the local area, helping revive old mining ground into a habitat for nature.”

Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis, who assisted with the tree planting, said: 

“This is a great example of what can be achieved when the community comes together and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Griffith Foods and Groundwork for their generous support.

“Every single tree counts towards the target of planting a million trees across Derbyshire to help protect the environment for future generations and tackle the effects of climate change.

“So whether you’ve volunteered as part of a large-scale planting project or simply planted a tree in your garden at home, please record your tree on our website so that it can be added to the total.”

Record a tree planting 

The latest planting at Brook Park in Shirebrook falls within the area of Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest – a government-funded initiative to improve access to nature by providing more green space in areas of Derbyshire with fewer woodlands.

Having successfully bid to government for funds to create Heartwood along the eastern and southern fringes of Derbyshire, we're aiming to plant 300,000 trees on pockets of publicly accessible land within the community forest area by March 2025. This will further support the ambition to facilitate the planting of a million trees by 2030.

Both the Million Trees project and Heartwood Community Forest project will feed into Derbyshire’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy which will map the location and condition of Derbyshire’s habitats and identify where biodiversity is in decline or limited in ecosystem value.

We were appointed by the government to lead the strategy for Derbyshire and set out the long-term vision and action plan for local organisations, businesses, landowners and the public to work together to improve the natural environment across the county - including Derby and the area of the Peak District National Park within the county.

Local people will get the opportunity to comment on the first draft of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy during a public consultation due to be launched in the summer.